Senator Beavers Opposes Raising State Gas Tax

State lawmakers may consider raising Tennessee’s gas tax this year.
The push is coming from more than forty Middle Tennessee mayors who are calling on the Governor to find additional revenue for transportation projects across the state.
Tennessee imposes 21.4 cents in taxes per gallon of fuel. That hasn’t been increased since 1989. The federal gas tax, which hasn’t changed since 1993, is 18.4 cents per gallon, meaning drivers in Tennessee pay a total of 39.8 cents on each gallon of gas purchased.
In an interview with WJLE Wednesday, State Senator Mae Beavers said she opposes any higher taxes. “I’m not for any more new taxes. I think we need to manage with what we have right now and get rid of the waste. One of the things we’ve been doing in the legislature is trying to get rid of all the boards and commissions that we could under the Government Operations Committees. There’s a lot of things we can do to streamline state government rather than pass a new tax,” she said.
“If they do pass a new tax (raise gas tax), it should all go to roads and bridges. I think we need to cut out what I consider some of the waste and that’s money going to greenways and walking trails and projects like the Amp that was being considered in Nashville (Bus rapid transit project). I would not be for any of that money going to those kinds of projects. I think there’s a lot we could do right now. We need to be calling on our Congressmen in Washington to cut out all of that waste and quit designating money. We have money that has to go to the Governor’s Highway Traffic Safety Office simply because we haven’t adopted the “Pass the Bottle” bill in Tennessee to affect our DUI’s. We’ve got Washington telling us what we have to do with our own money. We send money to Washington. They send it back and tell us what we have to spend it on. We have a Republican majority in Washington now and I’d be for calling on our Congressmen to stop some of the mandates coming out of Washington on our state government,” said Senator Beavers.
Governor Bill Haslam said gas tax revenue goes exclusively to help fund roads, and in no way helps the state general revenue fund. Although he hasn’t explicitly started pushing for an increase, he’s framed the issue as something that must be addressed.
Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey said he could favor an increase as long as it’s part of a larger comprehensive measure. House Speaker Beth Harwell reportedly hasn’t revealed a position.

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